BC Ferries Fined $674,000 Over Worker Who Drowned After Falling From Vessel

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British Columbia’s health and safety agency for workers has imposed a hefty fine on BC Ferry Services Inc., over the death of one of its workers in June 2020.

A statement on the WorkSafeBC site says a fine of $674,445 was imposed last month.

It says one of the firm’s employees was doing work on a ferry that was docked for maintenance in Richmond.

The worker leaned onto a fabric webbing panel that broke away when he was trying to retrieve an item floating in the water, and he drowned.

The agency says the worker wasn’t wearing a life-jacket and the fabric panels were insufficient at stopping him from falling into the water below.

It says no safe work procedures had been developed by BC Ferries to retrieve fallen objects from the water and it failed to ensure the health and safety of its employees at the work site.

“The firm also failed to provide its workers with the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety. These were both high-risk violations,” the WorkSafeBC statement says.

Deborah Marshall, spokeswoman for BC Ferries, said in a written response that areas of concern were immediately addressed after WorkSafeBC issued its report in November 2021.

“We have requested a review of the WorkSafeBC report. This will give BC Ferries access to the complete findings and provide a better understanding of how WorkSafeBC reached its decisions and where any further improvements can be made.”

Marshall said the “request for review process” allows BC Ferries to demonstrate reasonable precautions, safety policies and procedures and training were in place.

“It also ensures that WorkSafeBC will disclose the materials and evidence it relied on to reach its conclusions in the inspection report.”

BC Ferries promptly paid the fine issued by WorkSafeBC in May, Marshall said.

“We are reviewing the decision and have the ability to appeal.”

The Canadian Press

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